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August 2002

Truth or Consequences: Firearm Safety Instruction at the Time of Purchase

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002;156(8):750-751. doi:10.1001/archpedi.156.8.750

KIDS AND GUNS are a deadly combination. Each year in the United States, more than 3000 children younger than 20 years are killed by a firearm. Thousands more sustain nonfatal injuries.1 Because guns are widely available in the United States, American children are far more likely to be killed by a firearm than their peers in other industrialized countries.2 Unintentional firearm-related injuries and deaths are particularly troubling because they are so preventable. The scenario of most unintended shootings of children is all too familiar: 1 or more kids find a gun and begin playing with it. Unsure if it is real or a toy (or believing that it is unloaded), the child pulls the trigger. If the gun is pointed in the wrong direction, a tragedy follows. Ironically, most of these guns were acquired to protect the family, not to harm it.

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